Nov. 15, 2002
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Siena Saints (0-0/0-0 MAAC) vs.
Syracuse Orangewomen (0-0/0-0 BIG EAST)
Friday, November 15, 2002 - 7:00 pm
Alumni Recreation Center (4,000) - Loudonville, NY
Coming off the greatest two-year stretch in school history, the
Saints open the 2002-2003 season against Syracuse University,
who advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season for the first
time since 1988. Siena returns all five starters from a team
coming off of a 23-win campaign and WNIT showing in 2002.
Siena brings a three-game winning streak against Syracuse into
this evening's game. The Saints lead the all-time series with the
Orange 4-3. This will be first meeting between the two schools
since November of 1992, when Siena opened up the season with
a 64-52 victory. Gina Castelli fashions a career 2-0 record
The winner of tonight's game will face the winner of the
Bucknell-Penn State game on Sunday in the second round of the
WNIT. After participating in last year's postseason WNIT, this
is Siena's first exposure in the preseason tournament
ON THE AIR
Saints Women's Basketball can be heard on 88.3 WVCR-FM.
Fans can also tune in on the internet at the Siena Athletics
homepage, www.sienasaints.com. The pregame show begins 15
minutes before scheduled tipoff. Eric Kopf will be handling the
play-by-play throughout the season.
SIENA HEAD COACH GINA CASTELLI
Career Record: 202-137 .597 (13th year) At Siena: Same
Gina Castelli is in her 13th season at the helm of
the Siena College women's basketball program.
She is the winningest coach in school history, and
she has led the Saints to six 20-win seasons in her
12 years. She won the 200th game of her career in
the 2002 season finale against Marist. For her
efforts Castelli was named Co-MAAC Coach of
the Year. She has now won or shared the award
six times during her 12 seasons. Prior to coming
to Siena, Castelli was a standout performer on the
court with Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y. She
still ranks among the school's top three in points,
assists and steals, and she was inducted into the Golden Griffins Hall of
Fame in October of 1997. She was also an academic All-American while
at Canisius and she earned her bachelor's degree in 1986.
SYRACUSE COACH MARIANNA FREEMAN
Career Record: 207-208 .499 (10th season)
The 2001-02 season was the most successful during
Freeman's tenure. The Orangewomen won 18 games
and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first
time since 1988. Syracuse's winning conference record
(9-7) was also its first since the '87-88 team went 13-3.
Freeman guided SU to the semifinals of the BIG
EAST Championship, the Orangewomen's first semifi-nal
appearance since 1988. SU also became only the
second seventh seed in tournament history to advance
to the semifinals. She was named both the Black Coaches Association
Female Coach of the Year and the Basketball Coaches Association of New
York Co-Coach of the Year, and won the Vivian Stringer Female Coach of
the Year Award from the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.
TOUGHEST SCHEDULE EVER?
The 2002-2003 non-conference schedule could be Siena's toughest in school history. In all, six teams Siena is definitely
scheduled to play made postseason play last year. Syracuse, Boston College, Hartford, Florida International and Saint
Peter's all made the NCAA Tournament in 2002 while Holy Cross played in the WNIT. Also, Siena has other potential
matchups with postseason teams. If the Saints beat Syracuse tonight, they will move on to face the winner of Penn State
and Bucknell, both NCAA teams a season ago. In the Hawk Classic in Philadelphia, Siena could play a rematch of the
postseason WNIT against Saint Joseph's.
At MAAC Basketball Media Day earlier this month, Siena was the coaches' choice to win it all in the 2002-03
season. Siena has won four of the last five MAAC regular-season championships. Following a vote of the
MAAC's 10 head coaches, senior Gunta Basko, the two-time MAAC player of the year and leading scoring
and rebounder from a year ago, was named the MAAC Preseason Player of the Year. She is joined on the first
team by junior Liene Jansone, while classmate Erica Andersonreceived second team honors. The Saints
also received one vote in the AP writers poll.
HANGING OUT IN THE HALL OF FAME
The college jersey of standout Gunta Baskois currently displayed in the "Ring of Honor" at the Women's
Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn. Basko was named Kodak District 2 All-American after an
impressive 2001-2002 season. She was also named Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Player of the
Year for a second straight season, and averaged 18.6 points a game. Womenscollegehoops.com named the
Latvian an honorable mention preseason All-American, one of only 27 players to be honored on its All-American
NOT FAR BEHIND
Junior Liene Jansonehas quietly put together two stellar seasons with the Saints that are similar to the numbers
posted by her Latavian predecessor, Gunta Baskoin her first two seasons. After two years, Basko had
826 points and 452 rebounds. At the same point in her career, Jansone has 773 points and 306 rebounds
despite missing the first seven games last season.
BY THE NUMBERS
Siena lost just three players from last year's team: seniors
Meaghan McGonagle and Chrissy Loeliger (graduation)
along with junior transfer Tiziana Franciamore. All told,
Siena returns 92% of its scoring, 90% of its rebounding, and
over 80% of its assists.
Five Siena players will make their debuts tonight.
The freshmen class consists of guards Trish Lyons, Michelle
Blot and Gabrielle Doemel along with forwards Emily
Clarkand Whitney Cave. Lyons amassed 2,000 points at
Bishop Ford High School, in Brooklyn, New York and ranks
among the top 50 scorers in the history of New York City bas-ketball.
Blot comes to Siena from nearby Colonie, where she
garnered second team all-state honors in both her junior and
senior years. Doemel walks on to the program from Holy Names Academy in Latham, N.Y. Meanwhile rook-ie
bookends Clark and Cave arrive in Loudonville from Portland, Oregon and Queensland, Australia respec-tively.
A FREQUENT OPENER
Tonight marks the fourth time Siena has opened against Syracuse, with the Orangewomen holding a 2 to 1
lead. Siena's lone win, a 64-52 decision in 1992, also marks the last meeting between the two schools.
SAINTS VS. THE BIG EAST
Siena has a 9-11 overall record against the 14 schools that currently comprise the Big East conference. Here is
how the Saints have fared against Big East foes:
Syracuse (4-3) Providence (0-4), Villanova (2-1),
Pittsburgh (1-1), Georgetown,(1-0) Virginia Tech (1-0),
St.John's (0-1), Connecticut (0-1).
LEADERS OF THE MAAC
Siena has dominated the MAAC over the past five
years, winning four regular-season championships and
one MAAC Tournament title. In that span, Siena is
73-17 (.811) in conference games.
After the success of the Dwayne Archboldbobble-head
doll a season ago, the women's basketball team is
getting onboard this national phenomenon. Later in
the season, fans will receive Gunta Baskodolls at a
game to be announced.